INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous peoples’ general worldview is to live in harmony with nature, and to steward and preserve their land. Native Americans did just this — preserving their natural landscape for 14,000 years until the European settlers came and cleared the land. And, while Indigenous peoples contribute the least to climate change and have the smallest ecological footprints on earth, they are disproportionately affected due to their close relationship with the environment and dependence upon its resources.

In the U.S., there are 567 federally recognized tribal entities, comprised mainly of American Indian peoples and Alaska Native peoples. NOAA’s 2019 Arctic report card details a major loss of sea ice in Alaska’s Bering Sea — that has led to dying wildlife, food scarcity, and animal migration — profoundly affecting over 70 local indigenous communities. In Louisiana, sea-level rise and coastal erosion are drowning burial sites and threatening their source of food. In northern Arizona, the Hopi tribesmen have seen their traditional indigenous farming practices fail in the face of climate change disrupted seasons; these are only a few examples.

In response, tribes are developing and implementing climate adaptation plans. At least 50 tribes have created plans which are available in a database via the Tribal Climate Change Project. And, with tribes controlling over 50 million combined acres nationally, these climate plans could be a crucial resource for their uniquely deep ecological knowledge and community-based approach.

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CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

A Report From The National Tribal Air Association And Moms Clean Air Force

08/11/21
The total numberof Indigenous people in the United States is between 2.5 and 6 million, of which 20% live on Tribal lands or in Alaska Native villages. There are 574 federally recognized Tribes, but this…

Addressing Links Between Climate and Public Health in Alaska Native Villages

08/11/21
As emissions of heat-trapping bases accumulate in our atmosphere, Earth's polar regions are warming more quickly than at lower latitudes. The rapid environmental changes that result from this warming can have a significant impact on…

Decolonize climate adaptation research

06/23/21
Climate-forced population displacement is among the greatest human rights issues of our time, presenting unprecedented challenges to communities and the governments responsible for protecting them. Sea level rise, heat, drought, and wildfires will cause people…

Climate Change

05/11/21
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that Indigenous peoples of North America are disproportionately vulnerable to climate change. The most vulnerable industries, settlements, and societies are generally those in coastal and river flood plains;…

Climate Change and the Health of Indigenous Populations

05/11/21
Understanding the threats that climate change poses to human health can help us work together to lower risks and be prepared. Climate change threatens human health, including mental health, and access to clean air, safe…

Climate change threatens traditional ways of life

05/11/21
Climate change threatens indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and economies. Its impacts are projected to be especially severe for many of the 567 federally recognized tribes in the United States that depend on traditional places, foods, and…

Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: A Synthesis of Current Impacts and Experiences

05/11/21
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited…

Climate Change Vulnerability of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in the Southwest

05/11/21
Native Americans are one of the most vulnerable populations to climate change in the United States because of their reliance upon the natural environment for food, livelihood, and cultural traditions. In the Southwest, where the…

OnePlanet

01/03/20
To partner with indigenous and traditional communities to build a more sustainable, empowered, and just future through community-based projects, outreach, and technical assistance.

Indigenous Environmental Network

12/23/19
Established in 1990 within the United States, IEN was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues (EJ). IEN’s activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal…

MORE NEWS

PNS

Wyoming Defies U.S. Supreme Court Over Crow Tribal Hunting Rights

By Eric Galatas   12/30/21  
Wyoming will appeal a recent district court decision affirming Crow tribal hunting rights granted under treaties signed in the 19th century, rights recently affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Dan Lewerenz, staff attorney for the…

Native Americans’ farming practices may help feed a warming world

By Samuel Gilbert  Photo: Cassidy Araiza   12/10/21  
Indigenous peoples have known for millennia to plant under the shade of the mesquite and paloverde trees that mark the Sonoran Desert here, shielding their crops from the intense sun and reducing the amount of…

Helping Native communities attain ​‘energy sovereignty’ with solar

By Natasha Ferguson   12/01/21  
Vivian Hamilton has spent her entire life in the community of the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians, east of Riverside, California. As a great-grandmother, she has lived enough years to see changes shape the…

Climate change fuels a water rights conflict built on over a century of broken promises

By Nick Kirkpatrick and others   11/22/21  
The simple way to think about this crisis: There’s no longer enough water to go around to meet the needs of farmers and Native American populations as well as fish and birds.

Indigenous and faith leaders urge Procter & Gamble to end logging of old-growth forests

By Diana Kruzman   11/09/21  
Mitchell Lands couldn’t make the trip south from Canada, where he lives on the traditional lands of the Migisi Sahgaigan, or Eagle Lake First Nation, in the province of Ontario. But Lands’ voice echoed in…

Forced Relocation Left Native Americans More Exposed to Climate Threats, Data Show

By Christopher Flavelle  Photo: Tomás Karmelo Amaya   10/28/21  
Centuries of land loss and forced relocation have left Native Americans significantly more exposed to the effects of climate change, new data show, adding to the debate over how to address climate change and racial…

It’s Time for the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

By Violet Sage Walker   10/27/21  
Chumash people have inhabited California's Central Coast region over 20,000 years, stewarding our ancestral waters. For the last 40 years, Chumash leaders and allies have fought to protect the extraordinary cultural and natural values of…

Indigenous Activists Helped Save Almost A Billion Tons Of Carbon Per Year

By Dallas Goldtooth and Kyle Gracey  Photo: Ben Hovland/MPR News   10/15/21  
This summer, Science Friday and other media outlets covered the protests against an oil pipeline project in northern Minnesota, where Canadian company Enbridge Energy was replacing and expanding their existing Line 3 infrastructure. Native American…

“People vs. Fossil Fuels”: Over 530 Arrested in Historic Indigenous-Led Climate Protests in D.C.

10/15/21  
This week over 530 climate activists were arrested during Indigenous-led civil disobedience actions in Washington, D.C., calling on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects. Indigenous leaders have…

Arrests and clashes cap week of D.C. protests by Indigenous youth and climate activists

By Ellie Silverman  Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images   10/15/21  
Love Hopkins, an 11-year-old enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, sat in the middle of an intersection near the U.S. Capitol, preparing to be arrested. She had traveled to the nation’s capital from…

Indigenous Activists Helped Save Almost A Billion Tons Of Carbon Per Year

10/12/21  
Wild caribou are the single most important land-based species for both human communities and ecosystems in the Arctic. Abundant across the polar region, these animals play an essential role both as herbivores that impact tundra vegetation and as an important source of food to Indigenous hunters. In many…

Indigenous activists come to D.C. with a message for Biden: Declare a national climate emergency

By Ellie Silverman  Photo: Eric Lee   10/11/21  
Casey Camp-Horinek, a tribal elder from White Eagle, Okla., and environmental ambassador for the Ponca Nation, marched in the front of a crowd of hundreds headed toward the White House on Monday and held up…

Indigenous climate activist wins 2021 Bright Award

By Taylor Kubota  Photo: Briar Wyatt   10/05/21  
When asked when their journey as a climate activist began, India Logan-Riley responds that they were “born into it” because, as an Indigenous person, their history is intertwined with the history of climate change. Logan-Riley…
NPR

Scholars look to Indigenous knowledge and practices in fight against climate change

By Evie Hemphill   10/04/21  
As humans grapple with how to protect the environment and sustain life amid intensifying climate issues, St. Louis-area universities and other local institutions are looking to time-tested approaches for ideas as they kick off a…

In Arizona, Drought Ignites Tensions and Threatens Traditions Among the Hopi

By Simon Romero  Photo: Tomás Karmelo Amaya   10/02/21  
On the bone-dry plateau where the Hopi people have lived for well over a thousand years, Robinson Honani pulled his truck to the side of a dirt road and pointed to a carcass. “This is…

Study: Indigenous resistance has staved off 25% of U.S. and Canada’s annual emissions

By Adam Mahoney  Photo: Robyn Beck/afp Via Getty Images   09/10/21  
A recent report by Indigenous Environmental Network, or IEN, and Oil Change International, or OCI, found that Indigenous-led resistance to 21 fossil fuel projects in the U.S. and Canada over the past decade has stopped…

Addressing Links Between Climate and Public Health in Alaska Native Villages

08/16/21  
As emissions of heat-trapping bases accumulate in our atmosphere, Earth's polar regions are warming more quickly than at lower latitudes. The rapid environmental changes that result from this warming can have a significant impact on…

Protesters arrested after rally against Mountain Valley Pipeline in Elliston

By Pat Thomas   08/09/21  
According to Appalachians Against Pipelines, ten people locked themselves to equipment in the Cove Hollow Road area to protect such things as fish and birds the group says are native species threatened by the MVP. All…

Winona LaDuke Feels That President Biden Has Betrayed Native Americans

By David Marchese  Photo: Braulo Amado   08/06/21  
Right now in northern Minnesota, the Canadian oil-and-gas-transport company Enbridge is building an expansion of a pipeline, Line 3, to carry oil through fragile parts of the state’s watersheds as well as treaty-protected tribal lands.…

Pushing for a progressive approach to climate-forced displacement

By Climate Justice Resilence Fund   08/06/21  
“There’s no international legal instrument to protect the rights of those who are displaced by climate change. The US has the opportunity and responsibility to lead this effort, through its diplomatic relations, its engagement in…

Winona LaDuke Feels That President Biden Has Betrayed Native Americans

By David Marchese  Photo: Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse, via Getty Images   08/06/21  
Right now in northern Minnesota, the Canadian oil-and-gas-transport company Enbridge is building an expansion of a pipeline, Line 3, to carry oil through fragile parts of the state’s watersheds as well as treaty-protected tribal lands.…

Biden moves to protect the Tongass, North America’s largest rainforest, from logging and road building

By Beverly Law  Photo: Jack Olen   08/04/21  
Ask people to find the world’s rainforests on a globe, and most will probably point to South America. But North America has rainforests too – and like their tropical counterparts, these temperate rainforests are ecological…

Indigenous rancher is a 125th-generation land steward

By YCC team  Photo: Morlan Marley Boecker   08/03/21  
As farmers grapple with climate change, many are turning to regenerative agriculture practices. These techniques help store carbon in the soil and make the land more resilient to extreme weather. The approach is increasingly popular,…

Climate change is endangering sacred land

By Ray Levy Uyeda  Photo: Marlena Sloss   08/02/21  
Since time immemorial - before the European colonization of what is now known as the United States - tribes of the Pit River Nation have made annual pilgrimages to Medicine Lake in Northern California. The…

Indigenous resistance against carbon

08/01/21  
Indigenous Resistance Against Carbon seeks to uplift the work of countless Tribal Nations, Indigenous water protectors, land defenders, pipeline fighters, and many other grassroots formations who have dedicated their lives to defending the sacredness of…

Alaska Underwater: Climate Won’t Wait

By Gabriella Gricius-Abbott  Photo:Melissamn   07/27/21  
Imagine if your entire community began to disappear into the ocean. Many communities don’t have to. In June, severe flooding sent a majority of the Kwigillingok, Alaska community underwater — but this is not a new phenomenon,…

USDA Announces Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy, Initiates Action to Work with Tribes, Partners and Communities

07/15/21  
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today a new Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy to help support a diverse economy, enhance community resilience, and conserve natural resources. Through this strategy, USDA will consult with Tribes…

Line 3 Tests Biden’s Commitments on Climate Change and Indigenous Communities

By Winona LaDuke   06/21/21  
Right now, as the country faces an historic drought, a seemingly endless fire season, and the prospect of yet another treacherous hurricane season, the Biden administration’s bold commitment to tackling climate change and prioritizing the…

On the Louisiana Coast, an Indigenous Community Loses Homes to Erosion

By Duy Linh Tu and Julian Lim   06/15/21  
Chris Brunet points to the stumps of dead trees throughout his yard. “This whole place looked completely different when I was growing up,” he says. “There’s not much left now.”

An Indigenous Systems Approach to the Climate Crisis

By Jade Begay  Photo: Gerald Corsi   06/10/21  
A colleague recently told me that climate justice is about building ties between people, their land, and their traditional, ancestral ways. In all my years of doing environmental work, this is one of most succinct…

Adapting to climate change isn’t new for state’s Indigenous peoples

By Chris Flood  Photo: Chris Flood   06/10/21  
According to Lenape Indian Chief Dennis Coker, Delaware’s Native Americans have been dealing with the impacts of environmental changes such as sea level rise for thousands of years. When the grassed plains of the outer…

Environmental justice and climate change are historically multi-dimensional for America’s indigenous people

By Alaina Beautiful Bald Eagle   06/03/21  
Dr. Kyle Whyte, White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council member, spoke to the Oceti Sakowin Caucus about environmental injustice, environmental equity, consultation, tribal regulatory authority, and President Joe Biden’s initiative to combat climate change. Whyte…

Indian Nations Law Update – May 2021

By John L. Clancy and Brian L. Pierson   05/12/21  
In Navajo Nation v. U.S. Department of the Interior, 2021 WL 1655885 (9th Cir. 2021), the Navajo Nation sued the Department of the Interior (Interior), the Secretary of the Interior (the Secretary), the Bureau of Reclamation,…

3 Youth Living and Organizing on the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis

By Maia Wikler   04/23/21  
The year 2020 illustrated to the world that the overlapping issues of climate and racial justice can no longer be ignored. A pandemic that disproportionately killed people of color and record-breaking wildfires that displaced thousands…

Earth Day — A case for traditional knowledge to mitigate the planetary crisis

By Sobantu Mzwakali  Photo: Renzo D Souza   04/21/21  
According to recent research, indigenous peoples make up fewer than 5% of the global population, but they manage or hold land tenure over 25% of the planet’s land surface and sustain roughly 80% of global…

Climate change is worsening water scarcity in rural Alaska says study

By Eilís Quinn  Photo: Mark Ralston   04/21/21  
The study, “Participatory Modeling of Water Vulnerability in Remote Alaskan Households Using Causal Loop Diagrams” was published in the journal Environmental Management. “High income countries affected with water insecurity is a reality,” co-author Antonia Sohns,…

How Native Communities on the Front Line of Climate Change Are Feeling the Heat

By Richard Arlin Walker  Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images   04/20/21  
At any moment, on any school day, the entire future of the Quileute Tribe is at risk. The Quileute tribal school is within a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean, which has been a source…

How Maine’s Tribal Communities Are Affected by Climate Change

04/07/21  
Tribal communities are directly affected by the impacts of climate change, and many are deeply involved in addressing this global crisis. We speak with indigenous representatives about the challenges presented by a changing climate, and…

Climate change intensifies the struggles that Native and Indigenous communities already face

By Emma Gehr  Photo by Emma Gehr   04/02/21  
The climate crisis is having adverse effects on many communities; however, Native and Indigenous people are feeling these effects even more due to centuries of settler colonialism and racial capitalism that have added to the…

Deb Haaland Confirmed As 1st Native American Interior Secretary

By Nathan Rott  Photo: Jim Watson , AP   03/15/21  
Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico's Laguna Pueblo, has become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.

There’s a Global Plan to Conserve Nature. Indigenous People Could Lead the Way.

By Somini Sengupta, Catrin Einhorn and Manuela Andreoni  Photo: Victor Moriyama   03/11/21  
With a million species at risk of extinction, dozens of countries are pushing to protect at least 30 percent of the planet’s land and water by 2030. Their goal is to hammer out a global…

How Native Tribes Are Taking the Lead on Planning for Climate Change

By Nicola Jones   02/11/21  
On a hot summer’s day, marine ecologist Courtney Greiner walks the shore of a rocky Washington beach at low tide with a handful of staff and interns. They stake out the ground and hunch down,…

How Indigenous Communities Are Adapting To Climate Change

By Paul J. Schramm, Angelica L. Al Janab   12/01/20  
Climate change directly threatens human health, with substantial impacts on Indigenous peoples, who are uniquely vulnerable as climate-related events affect their practices, lifeways, self-determination, and physical and cultural health. At the same time, Indigenous communities…

14 Stories of Resiliency and Food Justice in Indigenous Communities

By The Civil Eats Editor   11/25/20  
This year, Thanksgiving is fraught for many reasons, chief among them the ongoing and escalating crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. Many families have canceled or limited travel and festivities, and some are only gathering virtually.

EPA Strips Tribes in Oklahoma of Environmental Regulatory Rights

10/06/20  
The Environmental Protection Agency has granted Oklahoma environmental regulatory control of nearly all tribal lands in Oklahoma, rolling back sovereign rights for dozens of tribes.

SAGE Development Authority Launches Crowdfunding Initiative

10/02/20  
Project Will Utilize Renewable Energy Resources to Advance Economic Development for a Tribal Nation and Provide a Replicable Model for Other Native Communities

Louisiana lawmaker paid to push proposed pipeline through Black, Indigenous communities

By Sara Sneath   09/22/20  
Dorothy Ingram is among dozens of Raceland, Louisiana residents who say they’ve received few details about a proposed natural gas pipeline that would cut through historic Black churches and graveyards in their community, which sits…

Oklahoma governor asked EPA to strip tribes of environmental authority

By Ti-Hua Chang  By Shealah Craighead   09/02/20  
Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-OK) has asked the EPA to give his state jurisdiction over environmental regulations on Native American reservations. This would include regulating fossil fuels, a multi-billion dollar industry which donated $239,102 to Stitt…

No power, poor cell service: pandemic exacerbates energy inequality for Native Americans

By Joseph Lee  Photo: Andrew Hay, Reuters   08/12/20  
The pandemic has exacerbated severe energy and economic inequalities on Native lands in America – so people are turning to renewable energy

Towards a Just Recovery with Indigenous Peoples

By Norly Grace Mercado  Photo: Greenpeace, John Novis   08/09/20  
For more than two decades August 9 has been celebrated as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples – a day that recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world…